Faces of FOSS: Courtney Kimmell

Courtney Kimmell
Richfield, MN


What is your favorite part of working for FOSS?

The people! Teaching at FOSS is so fun because not only are you having fun in the pool, but the other teachers and swimmers are having fun,too—so it’s a hugely positive atmosphere.

What is your favorite FOSS story?

I had been working with this swimmer who was very anxious about swimming and putting her eyes in the water. After just one or two classes, she became an absolute natural with her eyes in the water. At the beginning of the sessions, the teachers carry around paper versions of our schedules in Ziploc bags to prevent them from getting wet, and my heart just about melted when this 3 year old swimmer brought me a drawing she made for me in a Ziploc bag. The drawing was a beautiful picture of me standing with her family (and their dog!) under a rainbow, and I still have it hanging on my fridge!

What is your personal favorite water activity? 

I love kayaking! I’m not super great at it so even just going around and around in a tiny lake makes me super happy. I’ve only been kayaking on a river once, but I’d say that was a 10/10 experience, too.

Can you recount a student of yours who experienced a major “lightbulb” moment when you were with them? 

There was a Little 1 student who would just sob any time he would have to put his eyes in the water—even if only for a second—despite all of my best reassurances and efforts. After several weeks, I stumbled upon the fact this kid was secretly a genius about dinosaurs. When he next came up after putting his eyes in the water, I asked him what kind of dinosaur he saw in the pool, and for the first time his eyes widened with huge excitement to tell me that he in fact saw a triceratops in the pool. For the rest of the session, he came to class every day with several facts about dinosaurs and many many more dinosaurs that he saw in the pool. It felt so special and exciting to share the moment where this swimmer started to be more comfortable in the water and class!

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